Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Reagonomics

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Reagonomics

Article excerpt

New York favorite Toshi Reagon is happy her soulful sensibility trickled down to her new CD

Soulful, funky, and folkie all in one, singer-songwriter Toshi Reagon is a huge favorite among the New York City music set and counts Elvis Costello and Lenny Kravitz as die-hard fans. (Kravitz, in fact, pegged the Atlanta-born musical hybrid to open for trim during his first tour.) The lesbian's list of admirers is about to grow. Reagon's latest mix, The Righteous Ones (September 14, Razor & Tie Records), which showcases her talents at their most sublime and invigorating, is generating the buzz of a breakout.

Reagon's approach to music is open enough, she says, that she can imagine jamming with acts as disparate as Sarah McLachlan, Led Zeppelin, and Joan Armatrading. "Yet you don't listen to the record and go, `Wow! This is so eclectic. I can't get my mind around it,'" she adds. Her list of early influences is equally surprising. "I was into Kiss, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden," says Reagon, 35. Did that wash with her esteemed mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon, of the African-American all-female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock? "All she did was buy me some old blues records so I would know where [hard rock] music came from," says Reagon of her mom, who sings with her group on Righteous.

For further proof that the warm, dreadlocked lady has a touch of the wild woman in her, you only have to gigs. "I never drink before shows because there's a chemical change in my body when I play," she says, laughing. "I don't want to mess up that high!" We'll buy her the next round of tea.

More, more, more

A LOOK AT SOME SELECT FALL ALBUMS WITH A GAY BENT

Toshi Beagon isn't the only one rocking out this fall, Herewith, a sampling of more great gay- and lesbian-made music that's ready to roll, (Keep an eye out also for new efforts from Melissa Etheridge and Marc Almond, both of whom have earned glowing praise in recent issues of The Advocate,)

* Elton John, The Muse sound track, Rod(et Records. For fans of the man, the myth, the maestro that is John, he can do whatever he wants these days--as long as he's still recording. Expect lots of hype on this release, but insiders say his first full-length movie score in 26 years delivers. TN RELEASE

* Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs, Vols. 1, 2, and 3, Merge Records. Sometimes love hurts, other times it soothes, as Stephin Merritt cooks up a triple-CD collection of odes to that most mysterious of emotions. Expect Merritt's usual genius: a little techno-pop, a little twang, and melodies that linger for days. …

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